American Lit: Jonathan Edwards!


  • ELA.11-12.RI.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
  • ELA.11-12.RI.2. Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • ELA.11-12.RI.3. Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
  • ELA.11-12.RI.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
  • ELA.11-12.RI.5. Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
  • ELA.11-12.RI.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power persuasiveness, or beauty of the text.
  • ELA.11-12.RL.9. Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features..

Learning Target: I can cite evidence from the text in order to answer selected response questions.

Opening Session: Let’s start out with a video in the PowerPoint. I want you to watch video and then answer:  Why is human fear such a powerful tool to use to convince others?

Work Session: Have students write the word ANGER large in the center of a piece of paper as they think a font called ANGER would look.

Explain that we are reading Jonathan Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God as a way to introduce them to Puritan ideals.  They are to doodle what the text brings to mind or makes them feel & the quote and page number that Goes along with the doodle . . . At the end of the text the paper should be completely filled.

Read Jonathan Edward’s Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
During Reading:
1. Model thinking about the author’s use of language in the text: particularly simile/metaphor (2nd paragraph the thin air holding people up, pg 88 heavy as lead, spider’s web stopping a falling rock, dammed waters, arrow bent towards your heart), Edwards’ methods of persuasion and his change of tone towards the end of the sermon.

After Reading:
Ask student volunteer why did we read a religious sermon in American Literature: The sermon has many literary elements
including metaphor, simile and imagery.  In addition, this is an argument.

Students will complete a multiple choice handout assessing things stated in the texts, central ideas in the text, and the words and phrases used in the texts.

After collecting the papers review the answers to their multiple choice handouts that assessed things stated in the texts, central ideas in the text, and the words and phrases used in the texts.

**Additional prompts to use if needed have them complete the above writing prompt (if time permits).

  • Recall:  What are some of the images that Jonathan Edwards use to persuade his listeners to seek salvation?
  • Evaluate: What effect would the images of the destructive power of nature have on the listeners of this time period? Explain.
  • Evaluate: (Performance Task): Select a transcript from a sermon given within the last 5 years or find one on  Using specific lines from each discuss how Edward’s sermon would’ve affected the modern day congregation and how the modern day sermon would affect a Puritan congregation.

Closing Session: Quick write: Jonathan Edwards (would or would not) be a popular preacher today if he preached like this because …

Assessment: Formal: product assessment/writing

Differentiation: Learning style (visual/kinesthetic drawing activity)

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